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Desperate for riding advice

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Hi guys. UK based but hoping to get a response here from you guys with good knowledge. I'll try to be brief as poss as I could go on all day about this.

 

Ex multi national champion in jetskiing since I was 14, I decided to try something new and close to my heart in summer 2011 aged 25 . I started mx, raced almost straight away and really enjoy it. No real speed about me. It taken me a hell of a long time to fully adjust to a bike. The seating and standing position on the jetski I raced is almost identical to a dirt bike but body position is so much more cruical on a bike. I discovered h&h enduro and really liked the feel of a long lap with lots of different parts to deal with. I started on a rm125, then switched to a ktm sx150. The extra cc's helped. I then switched 95% to h&h. I got a ktm 200 and still have it now.

 

Im alarmed and basically pissed off with my lack of progress now, in terms of results but just recently also the way Ive been riding. Ive had a few good results and some races where Ive been happy with my pace. I had a couple of 5ths & a second in the novice class. I purchased a 2011 yz125 which I prefer to my ktm 200 unless its a really hilly course. Otherwise Im mid pack at best. I moved up from the novice to the next class up, sportsman in the hope it would somehow bring me on.

 

The weekend just gone, I raced at Hawkstone park in a 2hr race. Not sure if any of you guys have heard of the place, its quite famous over here. Its a sandy big mx track and for the race I did they used woods surrounding the mx track to make a 3-4 mile loop.

 

I just thought Id do well, I started riding on sandy mx tracks and I can do woods. I had a great start, 2nd place to the holeshot and 3rd place to the next corner. All of a sudden I had an all to common near front wheel wash out that you get in sand if your not riding right, and I got blown away from then on. The track was super rough and after 2 laps I had to stop as the cramp in my hands was unbearable.

 

What got to me the most was the mad difference in speed that the guys in my class and the other classes were passing me at. I spent 2 hours getting lapped. It was humiliating. I couldnt ride at the speed these guys were riding at. Its upsetting, but at the end of the race Im thankful I didnt get hurt and I did enjoy it. But then I see the results, which in this particular race was 11th out of 13 and I just get so fed up again.

 

I feel like Im at a cross roads. I think its the many years of been so successful in another sport that puts pressure on me. Do I just carry on riding and hope Ill improve with seat time? Or do I just sell up and stick to trail riding.

 

Im just after advice and maybe stories of similar circumstances. I just want to improve but I dont feel like ive got any faster in months and months. Is it best to get training? Which is expensive but might help? Or just more and more bike time??

 

Also, if anyone wanted to look, I have my youtube page with all the races on Ive ever done. You can see what sort of level I am most recently and how/if Ive actually improved. Ignore the trail riding ones (green laning) as obviously thats just a day out with a group riding at their sort of speed rather than a test of pace. http://www.youtube.com/apr07

Edited by Rich16

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Sounds like you you are doing just fine for how long you've been riding. The biggest thing you can do is no beat yourself down when you fall short of your goals. Also keep in mind, the guys flying past you may ride this particular track regularly and will no doubt be faster than the guy who rarely, if ever, frequent the track except to race. Also sounds like fatigue (cramps) held you back from your potential. My advice: train like an athlete, think like an athlete. Spend time in the gym strength training, develop masssive cardio and focus on your core. Seat time is key, ride all the time and focus where you feel you fall short ( spend a day just doing corners, or just starts, or just improving lap times). Believe in yourself (which is hard; i struggle with this one sometimes). Be confident in your skill set and capitalize on what you are already good at and come to terms with the areas that need improvement. Believe you are good enough and believe you belong in the front. This is how I approach my riding and hope it can help you. Bottom line, dont give up! :thumbsup:  :thumbsup:

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Sounds like you you are doing just fine for how long you've been riding. The biggest thing you can do is no beat yourself down when you fall short of your goals. Also keep in mind, the guys flying past you may ride this particular track regularly and will no doubt be faster than the guy who rarely, if ever, frequent the track except to race. Also sounds like fatigue (cramps) held you back from your potential. My advice: train like an athlete, think like an athlete. Spend time in the gym strength training, develop masssive cardio and focus on your core. Seat time is key, ride all the time and focus where you feel you fall short ( spend a day just doing corners, or just starts, or just improving lap times). Believe in yourself (which is hard; i struggle with this one sometimes). Be confident in your skill set and capitalize on what you are already good at and come to terms with the areas that need improvement. Believe you are good enough and believe you belong in the front. This is how I approach my riding and hope it can help you. Bottom line, dont give up! :thumbsup:  :thumbsup:

Very good advice! 

 

Just keep at it OP. It will all "click" sooner or later. As DAS stated... the worst thing you can do is beat yourself up. Racing in a higher class will push you and teach you at the same time and in the best possible way. Watch the faster guys lines and how they approach each section and you will start hanging with them longer and longer. The key to progressing is to have fun on the bike... the worst possible thing you can do is push yourself to the point that it is no longer fun. Ride as much terrain as possible as even if those elements are not present in your race, the skill you learn from riding it will translate in one way or another. Just stick it out and I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how fast you progress once you get past that "dead zone" where it seems like you are as fast as you are going to get.

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I had a very similar problem. I was a successful roadracer who moved into motocross because of finances. I figured it would be a cake-walk learning how to ride dirt, if a bunch of teenagers could figure it out, so could I right? You get comfortable quite quick, but making that next big step in skill, requires a different mind set. Most of my friends did the same thing I did, went from winning expert roadraces to being back of the pack in a motocross race. We talk about it all the time and honestly, what drives us to continue riding and racing motocross is the challenge. I think if we were all proficient, consistently race winning motocross riders, it wouldn't be as fun or as challenging.

I came into motocross with high expectations and its been 4 years of sometimes agonizing frustration to the point of wanting to kick over the bike and quit.

Personally, I find quality practice is the key to becoming a better rider. Racing doesn't cut it because you're under an entirely different level of stress when racing. You can't really focus on basic skills when you're mid-pack trying to stay alive and finish the moto. Diversification is the key, riding in a wide range of locations and simply broadening your skills as a result. Maybe you take a risk you normally wouldn't take and survive, then say to yourself, wow that wasn't so bad. Once you learn how to control those risks, then you actually grow as a rider. Those situations are what makes you a better rider because without those things happening, you're simply doing the same action over and over again and as you've found out, it isn't working the way you want it to work. You'll stay stagnant as a rider, like so many people have, including myself.

The other critical thing to think about is getting trackside assistance with your skills. Perhaps getting someone to watch you ride and critique. Everyone has bad habits, including the pro's. You probably can't even see your bad habits, even if you had sideline video of it. But a professional can see it and they can tell you straight up, what's wrong. Like everything in life, knowledge is power and having that knowledge, fixing those problems, is a real confidence booster. You'll feel so much better on the bike when you ride it properly. Things like arm pump won't even be on the radar anymore.

Finally, you may never be at the skill level you want. Its all about understanding your potential (for your age and how long you've been riding) and trying to maximize it without setting the bar too high. ;)

Edited by tye1138

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Moto bike skills takes a while to develop. There's so much going on at the same time that makes it pretty complex. I could try and explain the impossible here in a few paragraphs but that wouldn't do you any good. Instead click on this link and watch this video. 

 

http://www.gsmxs.com/free-mx-riding-tips/the-foundation-of-speed-and-control

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This is lengthy, my apologies in advance.

I watched your first video and was struck by a couple of things: first, this is off road/ enduro riding you are doing, not MX. Techniques are similar but I think you'd get a better response to your issues by posting in the appropriate forum. MXers have different challenges than off roaders.

Second, it looks from the video like you are doing some sitting. On a rough course like that I'd NEVER sit. The way the camera was taking shocks and impacts was a good indication of the abuse you were putting to your body as well. That can equate to cramping and exhaustion.

Third, I noticed that you came to an almost complete stop on a lot of hairpin corners. This leads me to believe that you are spending at least some of your time with your head down rather than looking ahead. It's a difficult skill to master for some people but if it seems like the terrain is coming at you too fast and your timing is off, look up. 20-30 feet ahead in most cases depending on speed. It's dangerous as well to ride with your head down if that is what you are doing. Trees don't just jump out at you but it can seem like it if you aren't looking ahead. You'll find a lot of speed and be a lot less tired.

Speaking of tiredness, how current is your suspension? Serviced recently? Clickers optimized? Sag set? It seemed to be beating you up a bit, something the 200 isn't known for.

Go Pro footage makes it difficult to assess a rider's techniques. You should have a friend shoot you and post up. A lot more accurate comments would follow I bet.

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Looks to me like you've gotten to where you are by riding. If that is no longer all you need to improve, then you have to start working on technique.

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